A pair of errors in the bottom of the ninth inning cost the Winnipeg Goldeyes a chance to beat the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for the first time this season.
Holding a 3-2 lead and three outs away from taking the first game of a three-game weekend series on the road, two Goldeyes errors led to Jeremiah Piepkorn hitting a walk-off grand slam home run, as the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks beat Winnipeg 6-3 last night.
The loss moves Winnipeg 6 1/2 games behind the RedHawks for first place in the American Association's North Division. The Goldeyes have dropped nine consecutive regular season games to Fargo and are 0-7 against the RedHawks this season.
The Goldeyes quickly took a 3-0 lead with a run in the first inning and two runs in the second inning. Ray Sadler and Ryan Scoma strung together back-to-back doubles in the first inning to put Winnipeg up 1-0 and Tyler Graham's single an inning later knocked in two runs. Winnipeg stole five bags in the second inning to set a franchise record.
Fargo chipped away at Winnipeg's lead with a pair of runs in the fourth inning off Goldeyes starter Matt Rusch, who went 7 2/3 innings and allowed just four hits.
Winnipeg could have broken the game open in the top of the seventh inning when RedHawks reliever Mackenzie King issued three walks to load the bases with two out. Sadler blasted a pitch from Nathan Kilcrease, who came in for King, to centre field, but Fargo centre fielder Nic Jackson made an over-the-shoulder catch to keep it a one-run game.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jackson reached base on an error by Goldeyes second baseman Kevin Moesquit. C.J. Retherford then singled and Winnipeg reliever Brendan Lafferty got Keith Brachold to fly out. Kissock enter the game for Lafferty and Tim Alberts' ground ball was missed played by shortstop Josh Mazzola, allowing all runners to be safe. Piepkorn then whacked the first pitch he saw from Kissock to end the game.
Offensively, Winnipeg managed just three hits in the contest and didn't have a hit after the second inning.
Lafferty suffered the loss for Winnipeg, while Kilcrease pitched 2 1/3 innings for the win.
The middle game of the series goes tonight at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo. Game time is 6 p.m.